The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH or simply the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) signed a pact with the Philippine government through the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) on March 11, 2022 for the implementation of Strengthening Youth for Peace and Nonviolence in Mindanao (YOUCAP).  The project received a funding of 4 million Euros or approximately P230M.

The YOUCAP’s primary target is to strengthen the approaches deployed in formal education institutions towards youth-oriented peacebuilding efforts, gender sensitivity, cultural awareness, nonviolent conflict resolution, to name a few.  It also aims to enhance the capability of government institutions to uphold strategies for youth development and peace-building programs.

GIZ Country Director Immanuel Gebhardt said that they have been working with the OPAPRU to push for these initiatives particularly on conflict vulnerable areas in Mindanao.  He added that ‘the YOUCAP Project is highly committed to the young people as change agents to get sustainable, inclusive peace now and in the future.’  The OPAPRU has affirmed that the fund is targeted to benefit youth members from the region including Northern Mindanao, Caraga, Davao, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur and BARMM.

Gebhardt also mentioned that the project hopes to give the Mindanao youth hope and resilience to keep them away from armed conflict, focusing on the fact that stability is the only way people can enjoy prosperity.

Germany has been advocating for worldwide peace and stability with the aim of expanding partnerships with the Philippine government due to its growing relevance in the  political and economic sphere.

To date, Germany has funded around 70 different organizations in Mindanao.  Apart from peacebuilding in the region, they have also provided financial support in various sectors dealing with climate change, human rights, livelihood, disaster risk reduction and land rights.

As Filipinos, we should be thankful for our first world brothers who are willing to extend their helping hand in support of advocacies not only relative to economic development, but more so in alleviating the conditions of the youth and underprivileged population in our society.  Our hopes are high that these funds will not go to waste and will serve its real purpose.  The national government should take this as a challenge to prove that we are a country worthy of their support and that the Filipino youth is the pillar of the nation’s future.